Qualitative researchers/ethnographers: Can you use Scrivener keywords to code interview transcripts?

Is there a function in Scrivener that can allow you to tag or label highlighted quotes in transcripts with keywords, thereby allowing you to bring up all the highlighted bits with a keyword in a search (something like that). I am new to Scrivener–first week adopting it.

Am prepared to do coding or process my data outside Scrivener (possibly through atlas.ti or using old school methods).


It is not a program specifically designed for that kind of tagging and gathering, but it does have some tools that can be of use toward a simplified approach. I would say it isn’t too weak on the marking side of things (though surely not as streamlined as a program dedicated toward this purpose—I myself use macros to speed up the process of inserting markers into the text), it’s weaker on the gathering side, if what you expect of that is a list of only the marked phrases. You can gather documents with a specific type of marking and walk through matches like regular search results, and likewise you can search by note colour and string matching at any time.

  • This thread has some good discussion on the matter, though not much by way of resolution.
  • Forum user Louko posted an interested workflow for processing interviews a good long while ago—but it looks like most of the Scrivener related aspects are still relevant.
  • Also some good discussion in this thread.
  • I have written quite a bit on how I structure markings in a project and gather them later. For how I use this stuff (I’m no ethnographer), the available tools work very well—I need context around a marking so I don’t mind that the whole text it resides within comes along with the search.

Here’s my take, towards the end of this thread : https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/use-of-keywords-to-help-integrate-interviews-into-copy-within-scrivener/39567/1

In a nutshell, yes if you’re willing to jump through a lot of hoops, but you are much better off using real QDA software.